How To Be Happier

If you want to be happier there are a few easy things you can do to be happier. I've discovered what works for me and I'll share these with you! These are easy things you can do from spirituality to letting go.

I met a woman who was a clinical psychologist. She said she came to spirituality after she had lost her son and was seeking a way to deal with her grief. She went on to tell me that she tried psychotherapy but it didn't help so she turned to the traditional roots of her family's religion, but again, that didn't give her what she needed. She said she needed something more, and she then started looking at some Eastern practices, like Yoga, Buddhism and Qi Gong.

I asked her, “Did you find what you were looking for?” She said, “Oh yes! and I'm still seeking and learning!”

Seeking and reaching for more depth in life, helps us build the tools for life's happenings so we can be happier and more fulfilled, and, in some cases, more prepared for what comes our way whether it's good or bad. Perhaps that is why some of you are seeking.

I had another chat with a different psychotherapist who had so many questions for me on how I saw spirituality. It must have been my week for attracting psychologists.  She asked me, “Do you believe life is just suffering like the Buddhists do?” I told her, “No, I don't believe life is just suffering.” But I do believe that perhaps the Buddhist view is not that “life is a bummer and then we die”, but because we do run into experiences that feel like suffering, we need to find a way to live life so that we can move through it with more ease.

Ultimately, that may translate into more moments of happiness.

I have to say, my seeking has allowed me to have many more moments of happiness. I am so much happier now than I was 15, 20 and most definitely 30 years ago. But, I don't think it was ONE thing that became the solution to bringing me more happiness.

Just recently I read a book on happiness. The author described her year quest to find more happiness in her life, and in doing so she realized that she was an “underbuyer”, meaning that she always bought the least amount of whatever she needed including toilet paper. She thought, why buy a pack when two rolls are enough? As one can imagine, her frugality resulted in panic when she ran out of toilet paper. Her solution was to buy a larger amount and go to the store less frequently. Less stress meant more happiness. I thought that was kind of an odd discovery about herself, after all, isn't it obvious that no one wants to run out of toilet paper when you need it? But, perhaps it's more that she was seeking what would make her happier and in doing so, she found a small thing was really a big thing that she could change to bring more happiness.

Good news on the scientific research front, they say that only 10% of our happiness is determined by genetics, and as much as 40% is determined by our own choices and actions. This means that even people who tend to be more down hearted or have difficult life circumstances can be happier with self effort. In fact, you can change your overall happiness level in general!

So what areas in our life should we look at to find that happiness? What are the things that we should seek? Probably the best place to start is to start with the little things.  There may be small things that are based in some everyday spirituality practice, such as remembering positive gratitude, or it might  be in changing every day habits, such as practicing seeing the good in things and events. It might even be taking a step or two towards being physically healthier, like walking a little more on your way to work or the grocery store. You can take the long way through the parking lot!

I'll share with you one example of what helped me.

It was learning how to let things go past. It's not letting go, that implies that we are letting go of something we want to keep. It's letting those things go by that don't really bring us happiness or even may bring us negative feelings like anger or sadness. And then, being okay with it! An example might be, getting all riled up over some political issue that came up on the TV, your side is right, and they're wrong! Before you even watched the TV show, you weren't even thinking about it, and now…. you're angry, you're indignant… wow, what changed? Nothing changed, it was just that someone or something made you aware of a situation that you dislike, albeit, intensely. It's okay to feel the anger and indignation, but then let it go by. Don't hang on to it. Let it go by.

At first it took me a while to let those feelings go without thinking more thoughts about it and mulling it over, which just made me more angry. I found this would require practice to let those moments go by faster. The more often I did this, the quicker the feelings passed and the less angry I felt, I was much happier overall! Don't let those other thoughts take you for a ride and drum up more bad feelings.

Let it go by and you may find yourself finding a little more happiness!

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